Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Jumping in the Ocean

I watched "A Home of Their Own" with Kathy Bates on Sunday, it made me cry. Why? Because of the purity of her intent, her moral uprightness and scruples, her intense desire to raise her children right.

She's a widow, she has 5 kids, they are very poor. She takes them on a journey from LA to find a place to live in the countryside. They come across a house that is partially built and she makes a deal with the owner of the house. She doesn't want charity, goes to work, is honest and upright. She makes mistakes, but then pours enough love into her kids that it makes up for them quite a bit. She goes out on a date and gets beaten because she doesn't like the idea of having sex "just to get it out of the way" before the dance. No one (but my ex in some ways) has ever treated me like that, what I admire is the absoluteness of her reply to that offer (no indecision).

I remember watching this right before I had my 3rd child Sione. My husband was working in Seattle, I was alone and happy that he was gone because he complicated things so much for me. I identified so much with the characters and the story and still do.

It got me thinking about myself, my own moral life. That's a hard territory to define and navigate sometimes. I've never felt like a mean or malicious person, never had really bad intentions, yet sometimes I've had to fight certain tendencies or I've found myself walking along in shady territory more on the dark side of the line than the light.

This tends to be a more prevalent problem for me when I'm under a lot of stress and pressure, or when I'm just plain depressed.

I've tried to refocus this past week or so. Decided that a large part of the problem that I've been having with my apartment is that I've just gotten too frustrated with the situation, the fact that I'm stuck here, that the carpet is just trashed (the upstairs carpet hasn't been replaced since the 70's and the downstairs carpet is a lovely shade of cheap beige carpet full of holes and stains that couldn't help but show up since I've got 4 kids and a cat who all love digging at the carpet). I haven't had the carpet cleaned for 3 years now, mostly because it costs $70 bucks to do it and I didn't have the money or desire to spend it.

Last week (and the week before) my ex-husband pushed the couches and stuff together in the living room, took the stuff off the walls and started the process of painting. Two of the walls in the living room were finished on Saturday (the other two have large objects in front of them thus difficult to get at to paint). That being done I stayed up until 12:30 cleaning my house and putting things back into order. Monday was the same way, I wanted to go into work but couldn't stop cleaning and putting things back into order. My ex came over and started prepping the stairwell to be painted, I wanted to pick up some things at Home Depot so asked him if he needed anything over there and decided to go with him. I couldn't help running around the house looking for little things I could fix that would make things better for us. Light fixtures, outlet covers, etc. Plus I asked my ex to measure the bathroom floor to see if it would be feasible to replace the flooring in there. I ended up going back about an hour before they closed and bought a bunch of tile and stuff, it ended up costing over $300 dollars! When I got everything home I started thinking about the disparity between having a tile floor and the broken down vanity in the bathroom and it occurred to me that when I move the Landlord could easily replace the vanity (and carpet, etc) and then rent out the apartment for more than what I'm paying, so the next day I brought back the tile and bought vinyl ... now I want to bring back the vinyl and get a different pattern somewhere else (as they didn't have a very nice pattern at Home Depot).

Anyway, I stayed up so late on Monday and poured so much effort into cleaning and ordering that I'm starting to feel a bit sick... but it's worth it, both of my kids rooms are more organized than they've been for several years and so is most of my home. It is such a relief to me!

When I get that aspect of my life in order I can focus on being with my kids when I get home and studying to improve my skills at work. How I wish I really knew more about the computer, how the different programs worked together, how to keep it maintained. I've had a few problems at work today and I hate feeling ignorant when it comes to the computer.

Walking that line, I have so much to focus on... I'm trying to sort out the emotions that I haven't been dealing with in-between all that I'm responsible for doing. I'm not insincere, I really love who I love. But should I really allow myself to get pulled away from my main focus, my kids, my employment, to walk in mires of emotion? Dr. Laura Schlessinger advocates (and has advocated for many years) not dating after you get a divorce. In the midst of the dark and difficult marriage that I was in before I always hated that advice, I thought it so unfair, but now I understand the reasoning. It's not that marrying a nice guy isn't desirable, it's that not having my life and my kids lives in order before dating is like jumping in a stormy ocean.

I'm finding my voice, a little bit at a time, and at some point I will know what I want. Right now, I just want things to be better.


EcoGrrl said...

Darlin', Dr. Laura is the last person you need to be listening to. She is known for racist, hateful comments and there are wiser women who don't judge others like she does. Find someone to talk to personally to help you, or read a variety of women, like Iyanla Vanzant (In the Meantime is *phenomenal*) or Maya Angelou to see what single mothers have dealt with and succeeded, and bless yourself for who you are rather than punish. You want to date? Date. You don't want to? Don't. The point is, you go at the pace you are ready to go at, open yourself to the lessons, and forgive yourself for the past. Go easy on yourself - you are human, you will make mistakes. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not who tear you down. You want to learn computers? Spend that $300 taking classes, not at Home Depot - ultimately you'll feel better with all you can do about that compared to the 'stuff' bought at a big box store. Not dissing the good feeling from a clean home, but it sounds like you knew even when you spent the $ that it wasn't a good idea. It's time for autumn and you get a new chance every morning to go in the direction of your dreams. Now, do it :) big hugs!!!!

Star said...

There's a lot in your post as always and you come across as such a caring person. Don't rush into a new relationship. You'd only be setting yourself up for another disappointment. Just relax and let things happen. That's my advice, for what it is worth.
So glad you got enjoyment out of the film. I love it when I can identify with a film or a book like that.
Computers! huh, you can never keep up. Just when I thought I had Word sussed, out comes Word 2010 and it's all strange again.
I could go on and on but I won't bore you.
Lovely to see you posting again.

Anonymous said...

Don't fix a dump that you do not own. Either insist the landlord fix it or move. Sure it will be hard, sure you'll have a new neighborhood, sure you may need to switch schools. However, you will have a new start in a new place.

Strawberry Girl said...

Blogging is such a wonderful way to reach out isn't it? :)

Thank you all for reading and your thoughtful comments.

Grrl, I've resisted fixing this place for many, many years. I've applied to the landlord but they live out East somewhere and are the true definition of absentee landlord. I could move, there are some wonderful places either up North further or further South. However, heading South leads to undesirable neighborhoods and a longer commute. Heading North, a different school district. Sure my kids can adjust but for the moment I feel they have enough to adjust to. I want to get my life stabilized before moving somewhere else. So I'm fixing up the place, just a bit, enough that it's not grating on my nerves all the time, but not enough to unjustly enrich said absentee landlord. I'm taking advantage of many resources to learn the computer, it's the lack of time that keeps me from learning the computer further.

I will move, but for now, I'm choosing to stay where I'm at.

Love your comments. :)